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Actually I did not open the network manager - at least when testing. I right click on the network icon uncheck "Enable Networking". The list goes away. I then right click again and check "Enable Networking". The network never comes back.
This works fine on the wireless connection on my netbook running Ubuntu 9.04. Just checked - it also works fine with a wired connection on the netbook.
I did notice that the wired connection is called "Auto eht0" on the netbook and ifdown --help states in part
-a, --all de/configure all interfaces marked "auto"
So let me post this and try -a and also see if I can figure out if my desktop eth0 is "auto"
But where is it defined (or not properly defined)? Interestingly the entry in the Network Connections dialog shows "Network Connection 1" - my wired connection - as Last Used "never". However, Network Connection 1 is where I have defined the static IP address of the machine and it does in fact get that IP address.